Into enemy territory

May I borrow your ork? If we did Lord of the Rings, that'd get us at bork. Hello loaner ork. Oink.

Wrong movie. who insist on the spelling invoke Starship Enterprise and its crew's cybernetic phantom nemesis, the hive-mind Borg. Fittingly, two of their models go by warp. Another two are called dune. That's another movie altogether. But who's counting? If you are, pricing for the dune/warp duo of 3-in-1 server/DAC/preamps is €16/16.5K respectively. €16'000/pr also buys you a pair of matchingly styled dune/warp mono amps. That's €32'000 for the set. The next level up gets you at €36K for the zoom components. The final level is poignantly called edge. That means the Rubik cube €50'000/pr flagship monos below. Hello Danzek!

We need properly deep pockets to proceed; or focus on the mobile player float which doubles as remote control for the grown-up kit. All of it is from the German city of Nürnberg. As youngsters living in Kiel on the Baltic Sea, 'twas the place whence our favorite Christmas Lebkuchen aka gingerbread cookies came. We knew nothing of its war-crime tribunals when our parents were still young. Before we take another step, let's acknowledge the obvious. This milled-from-solid gear looks strikingly different. It's quite as though it had just beamed down from another dimension. I won't invoke The Twilight Zone even if more conservative tastes could think so. Fair enough. Today we venture where no hifi has before. This industrial design is in our face. Hi tech. Hewn from solid. Angular. Sharp-edged yet sleek. Borg. A bit—a lot?—alien. Not business as usual.

I'm quite uncertain who the intended buyer is. Prematurely well-off young IT geeks? Glass 'n' concrete lofties? Abstract art collectors? SciFi buffs? I'm also at a loss with current D'Agostino. But aside from sonics and functionality, today's upscale gear is under pressure to differentiate itself; at a glance. It's a point have taken to heart. Like mondo-retro Thöress from Aachen, you won't mistake their gear for anything else. As they say, that's half the battle? Make a statement. Plant your flag. Gather your troops. Stand for something. Hold your positions.

The future will tell how well judged their audience. It's not a battle reviewers fight. Those things are up to the buyer. They really are not our concern. If they were, we should refuse all assignments that fall outside our fiscal or stylistic comfort zone. Wouldn't that be boring? Why not take a walk on the more Borgias side of things? With looks like these, there must be quite a story behind it all. It's no coincidence that the above machine would display Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon at 24/384. It stands for uncharted territories and warp speed. Once we learn of 3KW power supplies and switchable class A/class AB operation, the imagination begins to heat up quickly. If yours doesn't—let's switch movies one last time—you must already be in Elysium…